Yes, I’ve been slacking again. So here’s a very long post summarising what happened in the world of singles in October.
Single of the Week: Platnum – Love Shy
So a bit of a curveball here, but with good reason. Bassline’s apparently been big news among Young People this year, but so far none of the singles have really grabbed me. This one’s actually quite charming, and very, very 90s pop in its melody. Thus an easy call.
It would have been the pleasingly jittery Green Light, from John Legend and Andre 3000, but Legend’s overly silky vocals don’t do it for me.
Elsewhere: Foals sounding like Foals on Olympic Airways; Guillemots contuining to mix quite impressive noises with sadly mainstream vocals, to mixed effect; a pretty average cover from whoever the Sugababes are these days; undeniably impressive but inevitably depressing return from Antony & The Johnsons; more Norman Blake-indebted jangle from Attic Lights; bonkers shrieking coupled with some nice melodies from Das Wanderlust; yet more retro-soul, given at least a touch of modernity by The Herbaliser; and a pleasant bit of acoustica (is “folktronica” still an acceptable definition?) on the excellent Moshi Moshi label from James Yuill.
And at the arse end: Kaiser Chiefs crap out another by numbers chantalong that can’t be saved by wannabe-quirky lyrics, and some bloke from the Arctic Monkeys pisses around with a rave classic for no apparent reason.
Single of the Week: MGMT – Kids
Back on familiar ground with another massive synth riff led track from MGMT. Who are band that we are led to believe are a ‘cool kids’ type band, but if you look deeper, are actually prog weirdos with a welcome sense of the preposterous in music. And you can also dance to them. Especially if you’re listening to the Soulwax-by-numbers remix. Which is great, but in an entirely predictable way.
Elsewhere: Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants, a slice of Sparks-indebted genius from the excellent Wild Beasts; the most enjoyable, if least interesting Ting Tings single so far; another good track from The Saturdays, but not as good as their debut; decent enough electro with girl-rapping on it from The Count & Sinden; CSS attempting to squeeze some life out of their desperately disappointing second album with the ok-ish Move; Electrovamp not quite managing to be the edgy Girls Aloud they clearly want to be, but producing an enjoyably daft racket regardless; speaking of daft – more reliable nonsense from Bristol’s Kid Carpet; Sash! (Sash!!) returning with an actually pretty good retro dance track, punctuated by a rather irritating ‘LOOK! It’s me! I did THAT SONG!’ type sample; and a sort-of-OK but not exact full-of-point Daft Punk-thieving thing from Wiley. This was also the week that saw an execrable ‘comedian’ release the worst single of the year.
Single of the Week: Girls Aloud – The Promise
So it wins because it’s undeniably still a cut above any of their young rivals, and it’s got a right old earworm of a chorus. Yet this is the equivalent of a ‘could do better’ on a school report. Stop copying other children’s work, Girls! And by this I mean: retro 60s pop.. ENOUGH. As a one off flight of fancy, excellent, but please be getting back to making future-pop in future please. Thank you.
Elsewhere: Excellent, relatively out-of-time, girl-fronted shouty stuff from Fight Like Apes; Bloc Party back to their usual average selves after the semi-departure of Mercury; Keane back to their usual average selves after the semi-departure of Spiralling; good stuff from epic indie types The Dears; a very average Bond Theme from Jack & Alicia; good but not amazing girl-fronted guitars (not a patch on Fight Light Apes) from new Witchita signings Sky Larkin; a song by The Last Shadow Puppets which is, sorta… listenable, y’know, hmm; a pretty pointless cover of I’m In Love With a German Film Star, with the Pet Shop Boys somewhere in the background, quite literally Being relatively Boring.
Single of the Week: Late of the Pier – Bathroom Gurgle
Much of what I wrote up there about MGMT also applies here, except this lot are much more transparently barking. Yes, you could dismiss swathes of this track as nu-rave by numbers, but listen to that chorus! It’s like mega-Prince, like a big futuristic robo-Prince. That’s good, right? You want a bit of that.
This week also saw Little Bit by Lykke Li get another release. It’s one of my singles of the year, so give it another listen. Elsewhere: a likeable upbeat acoustic singalong from Eugene McGuinness; good chart electro marred by irritating vocals from David Guetta; coffee table/ wallpaper stuff as expected from Dido; being ‘a bit dark’ doesn’t really save Laura Marling‘s Night Terror from a similar fate either; Roots Manuva is still a very nice man, look, he’s even singing about religion and stuff; melodic guitar thing courtesy Team Waterpolo; and they’ll never top “The Rat”, will they?. Oh, and the sodding X Factor types giving Peter Kay a run for his money in the utterly atrocious singles of the year stakes. It will be around forever. Sigh.